Tag Archives: Cuban cigars

Jamaica Trip, Apr 2015: Cigars Smoked (Part 1 of 2)…

For some of the previous posts on this trip to the Iberostar Grand Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica, please use the following hyperlinks:

“Jamaica Trip, Apr 2015: A Beautiful Escape in Montego Bay…”

“Jamaica Trip, Apr 2015: Fun In The Sun…”

“Jamaica Trip, Apr 2015: Food Fit For a King…”

“Jamaica Trip, Apr 2015: Pirate Beach Party and Local Flair…”

So, as I’ve done with previous trips, instead of doing full-on reviews, here’s a bit of an abridged version of what cigars smoked well, and where they were seeming to perform for me when on this trip last spring to Jamaica.  The smoking weather was comparatively perfect at a slight plus-or-minus variance of 28 degrees Celsius and 74% RH right at the mid-afternoon point daily almost.  And, as an added plus, the resort itself was a smoking-friendly resort (which I worry about a bit, when looking at resorts or hotels in “Americanized” locations in the Caribbean), and I smoked on our room’s terrace relaxingly, as well as quite a number of cigars being smoked poolside, with ashtrays supplied by staff, and no funny looks or questions about the “stinky cigar smoke” from either staff or other resort guests.  Frankly, when I did puff away, most were intrigued, and not a single nasty look or comment was noted (nicely enough).

1.  Quai d’Orsay Imperiales.  Oct 2012 “MUR” coded.  Enjoyed this with a Bacardi 8 & Coke, then with some Red Stripe beers.  Smoked well.  Lots of light cedar wood, cream, loads of vanilla bean, almost a hint of sweet almond nuttiness, and a heaping of refreshing citrus zest.  Delicious, with a wonky curve too.  Solid 94.  What a start!

2.  La Gloria Cubana Medaille d’Or No. 2.  Ago 2008 “TEB”.  Light black tea base tones.  Light herbal / floral essences waving in and out.  Rosemary with roses.  Then, carnations and dill almost (wasn’t sure if I was hallucinating in the heat or not, LOL).  Very fragrant combos.  Waves of dried cut grass in there.  EXACTLY what I love about nicely aged LGC sticks – like a spring breeze a day after the lawn was cut, and the yard work was satisfyingly done.

Excellent draw.  The ash held on in one-inch groups, but was very lightly compresses and easy to flick off.  Razor-sharp burn, no need for relights aside from one cosmetic touch-up.  A solid 93-point smoke.  Not an overly “filling” cigar, per say, or potently flavourful in an overpowering style, but an extremely nuanced and mature-tasting smoke, with a subdued finesse…PERFECT to start that particular day off.

3.  Ramon Allones Superiores LCDH Release.  May 2012 “MUR”.  An awesome mid-day smoke.  This one seemed a bit more muted than previous I’ve had, but I have high hopes for this particular box code.

4.  QdO Corona.  Ago 2008 “TEB” coded.  Like most of these cigars, another one of Czar’s HQ / PSP offerings.  This one was slightly tight with a restrictive draw – due, in part I think, to me accidentally leaving it out of my travel humidor during the evening before, and sucking up a bit more humidity than I like to store my sticks at (62% RH).  That said, potent flavours of leather, orange zest, and rich demerara sugar.

Mild burn issues throughout (again, like the slightly tight draw, something that’s tied in with over-humidifying it), and needed multiple touch-ups and relights.  Could have been better and was a bit unfortunate.  An 86.

5.  Cohiba Siglo IV.  Oct 2013 “POU”.  Wow – what an ugly cap this thing had.  This was enjoyed wholeheartedly with several piña coladas with double-shots of Appleton 12-year dark rum…and I enjoyed every minute of it.  Unfortunately, this cigar was one with another slightly tight and restrictive draw, and thin whispy smoke therefore.

That said, it had STRONG flavours of smokey honey and lemongrass tea, damp hay, and some buttered toast.  Rich flavours, but a bit of a paradox in that there’s just slightly closed-in about them.

I was thinking this may also be because this cigar is just not quite ready yet (just over a year-and-a-half old; baby-aged for Cohiba almost).  Will be amazed to see what these are like at 3- and 5-years, and how they may develop then.

More to come on this…

Cheers all.

Havana Trip, Nov 2015: Cigars Smoked…

Yup.  Cigars were smoked, ashtrays were filled, villages were pillaged and plundered.  As per the norm, some cigars were good, bad, or great.  Here’s some brief rundowns, particulars, and photos where available…

1.  SCDLH La Fuerza.  Feb 2009 “OPM” coded.  A stick I brought from home, my first of this particular trip.  After only getting checked into the Habana Libre at 12:30 am, and with the girls being zonked from the travel that afternoon, John and I went to smoke on the back terrace at the Hotel Nacional at 1:30 am our first night there, with mojitos and Cubano sandwiches.  So simple, and nothing special, yet such a decadent start in the overall experience.

2.  LGC MdO No. 2.  Unknown code, a 2012 stick gifted from Tom back home.  With cappuccinos for “breakfast” at the Nacional – another great Havana treat to experience.  You just can’t beat the satisfaction of smoking a “La Gloria Cubana” while in Havana, Cuba!

3.  RA Club Allones EL 2015.  My box code – Aug 2015 “RAE” coded; John’s box – Jul 2015 “OPG” coded, all priced at $8.30 CUC per stick (at Habana Libre LCDH).  John and I found a number of boxes at the LCDH at the Habana Libre, and decided to sample from two stellar looking boxes from two various codes (there were 3 different codes, spanning a 3 month production window, with 8 or 10 boxes there).  Which was a GREAT idea – the RAE code from Aug 2015 were ABSOLUTELY stellar, and a 92-93 smoke right from the start, buy, buy, BUY! – but then our plan went to shit a day later when we went back there to buy up the rest, and some Asian fellows were walking out with what was left.  We did, however, hit gold later on in the week when we found 6 more boxes at the Hotel Saratoga – all of which had the same Aug 2015 “RAE” code, and were as dark, oily, and aromatic as the first boxes.  Home run cigars, as much as they can be with the recent cost increases in these new releases.  Even the “lesser” sticks that we had over the course of the week were 89-90’s.  Buy, buy, buy!

4.  Montecristo 80th Anniversario.  I was gifted one of these at the start of the week.  While I did enjoy it’s creamy, golden nougat and cafe creme flavours, mixed with some hay and leather, it also was a fair bit damp and had some harsh tones and needed LOTS of relights.  I didn’t stumble across a box during that week, but it’s something that did pique my attention.  Hard to say – need to try a couple more sticks, and seemed to get good thoughts from most down there.  Night and day from the Montecristo Anejado sticks.

5.  Cohiba Piramides Extra.  I was given a few of these, unbanded, from during the Habana Libre LCDH’s welcoming cocktail night.  Though unbanded, they were told to me by a couple of people that they were “actual current production” CPE’s, and not just customs rolled in that style / impersonation.  Well – they smoked like relative crap.  Completely “ugh” cigar – tons of relight attempts, no flavour, pitched two different ones barely a third into each.  So, to me, they had nothing special in them, did NOT smoke like a Cohiba at all, and definitely just seemed like a custom roller’s impression of them, while not using any proper Cohiba-intended tobacco.  That said, I have no way to 100% know.  I’m 90% sure they were unbanded custom imitations, but if they were actual current CPE sticks (even “seconds” that they didn’t waste the bands on), then I would steer clear, folks.

Then again – it was the Habana Libre LCDH.  Slight of hand wouldn’t be surprising!  LOL.

6.  Custom cigars.  Fuck yeah.

Be it Jorgito’s Monsdales or robusto largos (@ Club Habana LCDH), Yolanda’s piramides (@ Melia Habana LCDH), Reynaldo’s various goodies (@ Conde de Villanueva), or the plethora of other custom rollers that are still around at the various LCDH shops (Alex @ Commodoro, Juanita @ Melia Cohiba, etc.), or other random custom Salamones or unbanded Seleccion Privadas, THESE are the experience to enjoy, cigar-wise, when in Havana.  Fresh off the rollers’ tables, I can never have enough of them while down there.  They just hit the spot.

Every.  Damn.  Time.

The irony – went through the better part of about a half bundle each of Monsdales and robusto largos, as well as a bunch of random other customs singles.  And how many pictures did I take of those?  LOL – none.  Just the one picture, from before “the slaughter”, LOL.  Shows how great the company, the food, drinks, and times were, that I didn’t take any “action” shots while smoking these customs, huh?

IMG_5254

 

Cheers all.

Cigar Review – SCDLH Oficios LCDH Release, Dic 2005 “FJN” box code; Final Score – 86

I had a nice little experience smoking this cigar, even if the cigar itself wasn’t my favourite of recent times.  A co-worker of mine, she being also into cigars mildly on-and-off for years, had found a fairly local cigar retailer near our workplace, on a local native band’s reservation.  I’ve known of this retailer for some years now (being a company that many online international cigar enthusiasts purchase from), but did not realize it had a very decent private lounge with some extraordinary comfy leather seating.

So, one particular “long change” off (where we have a 24-hr period off of work, as we switch from days to our night shift), her, I, and another co-worker who occasionally enjoys cigars, we all went to this retailer to enjoy a couple of hours, tucked away enjoying our hobby away from the end-winter temperatures (though it was a decent enough and sunny day).  It was nice, as I was able to do some fairly decent window-shopping, and purchased a bunch more non-Cuban sticks to bring down as unique treats to Cuban friends during my Feb-Mar Havana trip (it’s something I like to do, as they’re generally unable to get stuff from off their own island like that).

Anywho, when we were perusing their walk-in for Cuban cigars, I came across these San Cristobal De La Habana sticks from their LCDH Release series.  SCDLH is a very recent brand in the Habanos S.A. portfolio, only being born in 1999, and made to commemorate Christopher Columbus, and using the original name for Havana itself.  All of the brand’s main cigars are named after the old forts that guard the harbour entrance into Havana – El Morro, La Fuerza, La Punta, and El Principe.  The La Casa Del Habano Release series, made somewhat exclusively for the chain of international stores selling Habanos cigars, was sort of brought about in 2004 to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the brand, when the El Morro was included into a commemorative special humidor release along with 3 new sticks -Oficios, Mercaderes, and Muralla.  These new three were re-released in 2006 until 2011 as a special LCDH Release series, in a special box and with a secondary LCDH band, with some of the original-release boxes of these coming out in late 2005, as this box of Oficios was.

These piqued my interest when I came across them due to the box date and relative nice condition of the cigars, lovely dark wrappers, and just as a nice change of pace for me (I really like the La Fuerza, and also keep a good stock now of La Punta, but these special one’s [LCDH sticks] haven’t just been on my hit list).

Reviewed Cigar:  San Cristobal De La Habana Oficios LCDH Release

Box Date:  Dic 2005

Factory / Manufacture Code:  FJN

Packaging:  25-count varnished natural box

Price per cigar:  $14.41 CDN (brick & mortar local retailer)

Length:  5 3/8″, or 135 mm

Ring Gauge:  43

Format:  Dalias cortas / Corona

Weight:  Didn’t weigh this particular stick

Construction/Appearance & Pre-Light:  This was a nice looking box.  The presentation on these in the darkly varnished “boite nature” boxes are a nice change from SCDLH’s generally blah looking light-yellow-and-white semi-dress boxes.  The box varnish is a pretty close match to the secondary LCDH bands on these sticks.

This cigar was pretty nice looking.  Fairly dark and marbled wrapper, light oils on the wrapper leaf, and with just a slight imperfection to the finishing of the triple-wrapped cap.  The construction and weight in hand was fairly nice, with the cigar being somewhat solid but without any overly hard spots.

After a cut and taste at cold, just one main hit – molasses, and loads of it.  Fingers crossed

Opening Impressions:  Definite tones of rich, aged tobacco.  Loads of smoke when puffed on, but only slight wisps on its own.  A bit more restrictive on the draw than I’d like once lit.

First Third:  Into the first third, the molasses sways ever so lightly in and out, mostly leaving just a rich tobacco tone.  Maybe a bit of hay and wet leather around the fringes.

I was having this with an XO brandy – can’t remember for the life of me what the brand of it was.  I’m not a huge brandy drinker, though I do like the occasional touch, especially around the Christmas holidays.  I grew up with a Dutch mother (and my wife loves that, as I “came trained” as she likes to say), and a typical goodie that we always had floating around the house over Christmastime was “brandy beans”.  Great little candies – a dark chocolate, banana-shaped “bean”, filled with a half teaspoon or so of brandy liquor inside.  So, as a pre-teen kid, I remember scamming the whole box on multiple occasions, and REALLY enjoying my Christmas holidays!

Second Third:  Into the second third, not much more really.  The molasses tones really waved back into the latter recesses of the aftertaste.  The rich tobacco tone was there, but it was ever so faint.

This was turning into a bit of a hot-air generating blah.

Final Third:  Into the final third, a little bit of redemption.  The hay and dark leather came back a bit, and a wet woody tone came into play, almost sweet but a bit mangy at the same time.

I noticed at about the mid-way point on the cigar, and it became really prominent in the last third, that my tongue was starting to get a tingle.  This cigar was becoming very tongue tingling, almost like a nicotine sting on the tongue, but without a heavy nicotine hit though.  Almost like that residual feeling on your tongue from some Novocaine at the dentist’s office.  Kinda weird.

Maybe some tinges of an anise flavour in there too?  Was that part of the tingling I was getting?  Hmmmm.

Finishing Comments / Overall Impression:  This cigar wasn’t overly complex.  I was hoping for something special, considering I do like the heavy molasses and leather I get from other SCDLH sticks.  This wasn’t overly complex, but also kind of showed some faint dark brown sugar tones right near the end.  The leather was there a bit, but it became over-ridden by a carbon / pencil lead finish in the last third too.

Nothing special.  Are these past their prime?  Was it the brandy overpowering the stick?  Was it another example of a cigar that didn’t draw too much attention for its flavours upon release, and now aged, has simply become an aged cigar with not much to offer?  I’m not sure – perhaps its a combination of all the above – as I didn’t delve into these on original release.

I’m sure there might be fans of these.  While a nice change, and the looks and such checked all the right boxes, the flavours just weren’t there for me.  Not a throwaway, though, so I may have to give another stick a try again in the future.

At the very least, good time spent in a nice spot with great co-workers.

Final Score:  86

Total Smoking Time:  1 hour and 18 minutes

Date & Time Smoked:  March 11th, 2015; lit up at 1:05 pm, done at 2:23 pm

Paired Beverage:  XO brandy

Last Meal:  McDonald’s Big Mac combo, 11:55 am

Smoking Conditions:  In an indoors lounge at a very comfy 20-something, and very well ventilated, but 6 degrees Celsius and 59% RH outside.

Thanks for reading my review.  Hope you enjoyed it.

Cheers all.

Cigar Review – Partagas Piramides EL 2000, Nov 2000 “RAR” box code; Final Score – 88

Got another review here today.  This is a traded stick from a great BOTL, and a fellow CF member to boot.

He and I have done a number of trades now, and these were included a couple times before.  These Partagas Piramides were the first of H S.A.’s Edicion Limitada program, and as was the standard at the time, were cigars that were not in the normal portfolio of the brands chosen (the top 5 Habanos brands), and were made using wrapper leaves aged at least 2 years (which is longer than normal, and in later years of the program, this changed to being all leaves being used aged to this minimum).

Past their prime though?  Let’s see…

Reviewed Cigar:  Partagas Piramides LE 2000

Box Date:  Nov 2000

Factory / Manufacture Code:  RAR

Packaging:  25-box, standard dress box

Price per cigar:  N/A (trade; from Bahrain Ritz-Carlton)

Length:  6 1/8″, or 156 mm

Ring Gauge:  52

Format:  Piramides

Weight:  14 grams / 0.5 oz

Construction/Appearance & Pre-Light:  These are a slightly rustic, mangy looking cigar.  They have that circa-early-2000’s Partagas wrapper – leathery, wrinkled, bark-like in appearance, but with a lovely toasted tobacco aroma.  These early EL’s don’t seem to have quite the level of wrapper that’s been used in more recent years.  That said, the wrapper on this one wasn’t too bad – it was slightly dull and matte-looking, but this piramide was nicely symetrical and had some beautiful bunching to it.  There were some slighly veiny spots, but no soft or hard spots – the weight and construction of it felt quite nice.

After clipping the head, the draw on this was slightly more resistive than I wished for.  At cold, there were hints of old wood, all-spice, and a tinge of anise root / black licorice.  Hmmmm – interesting…

Opening Impressions:  After a lighting up and initial draws, the draw was actually quite nice when lit.  There wasn’t a ton of smoke with this, and it wasn’t overly viscous on the palate.  Slightly citric-acidity there on the taste profile.  Smell of fine and overly-dried herbs burning.

First Third:  Into the first third, this showed some hints of pepper on the couple of retrohales I gave this cigar, but it was extremely finite.  This cigar was very minimal on the powerhouse presence of pepper that my last one of these had (to the best of my recollection – my Cigar Dossier is packed up somewhere).

Frankly, I was already a bit disappointed with this cigar at this point.  I was hoping for a bit more.  It seemed to be looking at me, longing to be smoked, leaving me eagerly anticipating that which would come to pass.  But…meh.  There was a dark, old wood tone in there – almost like an old chunk of walnut wood was slowly being burned.  A fragrant-ness that was there, but not of the blowing-your-socks-off-kind.  And, since that wasn’t there, that aged refinement that some cigars get, gloriously aged LGC, QdO, old-school Monte or HdM, this cigar just simply didn’t have that there either.  Almost like the seco leaf, which imbibes that in a cigar that’s aged for a decade or longer, almost like it was forgot to be put in this cigar.  There was none of that perfumey, tea-like, aromatic class to this cigar.  And, being a Partagas, I was really hoping for one or the other.

Second Third:  Into the second third, things somewhat continued.  I began to notice that the burn was not impeccable.  I had to do a number of relights, and if I left the cigar alone for more than a minute, it easy petered out.  Got me thinking it was kinda like a hot date gone wrong – and if I left her alone for more than a moment, she’d wither away and die on me.  Got to be that feeling that it was almost a chore to keep her entertained.  Gawd, I hate that!

But then…

Some improvement!

About mid-way through the cigar, started to get a tinge of candied orange peel.  That citrus, sour, orange rind tone, being smacked back and forth on my palate by some wet, aged, old leather.  The smoke’s lack of viscousness continued.  Beautiful, rich, white ash.  Minimal smoke between puffs, but a decent amount with each pull.

And suddenly…

White pepper.  Ahhhhhh!  Just a few hints of it, fading in and out, but it was there.  Not the dense pepper that I was hoping to get, but it was showing up for the event finally.

Final Third:  Into the final third, it just kept growing and carrying on from the middle of the cigar.  White pepper, sour preserved orange rind, dark walnut wood smoldering in the fireplace, some wet leather drying over the hearth.

Damn, this was starting to get better and better.  Then…it was done.

Finishing Comments / Overall Impression:  I wish the whole cigar was like the 2nd half.  This was almost a night and day cigar; like two cigars wrapped in the same wrapper.  I was thinking in the first half about how 14 years might have been too much for this blend, how it’s Partagas essence might be all but evaporated into the hands of time.  But then, the 2nd half of the cigar made me a believer again.  If it was all like that, man, with the aged refinement hopefully coming into play more, it could have been wonderful.

Alas, it was just what it was.

Final Score:  88

Total Smoking Time:  1 hr and 35 minutes

Date & Time Smoked:  November 9th, 2014; lit up at 3:50 pm, done at 5:25 pm

Paired Beverage:  Havana Club Anejo 7 Anos and Coke

Last Meal:  Meat & cheese cracker plate lunch, w/ elk meat summer sausage, 12:20 pm

Smoking Conditions:  Climate-controlled garage, 21 degrees Celsius, 72% RH

Thanks for reading my review.  Hope you enjoyed it.

Cheers all.

It’s coming – the Partagas Encuentros…

So, after missing it last year unfortunately due to a work-related scheduling issue, I’m super psyched to be going back again for this year’s Partagas Encuentros festival (held the third week of every November).

And yay – the event schedule with pricing is now released finally.  Sounds great to have the opening dinner (the only main event that some choose to attend) at the “Plaza de Armas”, a gorgeous location for something like this…

To me, this event is the ying for the yang that is the main Habanos Festival (held every February), which has seemed to have gotten too commercial, too busy, too full of facades and not “real faces”, real hearts and minds there solely for the love of Cuban cigars and the friendships that are gained through and with them.  Granted, the Partagas Encuentros, and it’s related events can still be somewhat contrived and commercial – but cigars are a big business after all, and part of this event is catering to the gathering of business people that are part of bringing fine Habanos cigars to all of us.  The icing on the cake is this – this event simply helps to bring us all together; cigar distributors and merchants, collectors, smokers, cigar newcomers, torcedors, industry insiders, Cubans, Canadians, Brits and Das Germans, other various Euros, Yanks, and even unfortunately those crazy Aussies!!!

It’s a great time.  If you’ve even been on the fence about going to Cuba, and deciding on when to take the leap, these are the types of events to break the ice with.

I’m going yet again with a great core group of Canadian travel companions, and will no doubt be part of hijinks with the rest.

Let’s just hope I can get home in one piece afterwards!!!!

Cheers all.

 

Some blog and online shout outs…

In getting this blog going, I’d like to make a few shout outs for some cigar-resources and blogs already out in cyberspace.

These are some various (mostly cigar-related) blogs and whatnot run by some good friends and acquaintances in the cigar world.  Each and every one of them have their own styles, their own individual aspects and backgrounds that they’re able to bring to the cigar world.  Some may be more active than others, but all have influenced the cigar world and me myself in one way or another over the years (and hopefully they all continue to do so in the future).  I think mostly all of these guys I’ve been able to trade cigars with, and even share many good cigars and drinks and great times with in person as well – they’re all good friends.  Whether their reviewing styles match up with your own palate/choices or not, these guys are some true “brothers of the leaf”…

  • The ‘Dirty’ Ashes:  http://thedirtyashes.wordpress.com/ – this is a great blog solely on cigar reviews by a good local friend here in Canada, Art Sanchez.  Similar to most of us, myself included, he follows the “usual” cigar-review format (pre-light inspection, first-, second-, and final-thirds, as well as a final impressions).  His pictures are great (including his nicely manicured hands!), and the flow of his reviews are very clear, concise, and all-encompassing.
  • Nino’s Flying Cigar:  http://flyingcigar.de/ – this is a well-known blog that’s been around for many years and run by Nino Muñoz out of Germany, my Spanish/German conquistador friend-slash-adoptive-uncle-slash-das-German-curmudgeon.  A very insightful fellow.  Like him or hate him (as recently some do unfortunately, out of some online spite lately over the upcoming Min Ron Nee encyclopaedia update / v 2.0), he’s brought a wealth of insider’s-views and knowledge to the online Cuban cigar world.  From great write-ups to some awesome photo spreads, he’s recounted us for years about some amazing cigar experiences while travelling the world and going to wonderful places with varying gastronomic experiences, as a recently retired (lucky bastard!) former banker and porter from Lufthansa Airlines.  Though some of his own personal posts have taken a backseat lately to the posts of some other close friends of his during his blog “retirement”, this blog has an extensive archive and wealth of knowledge from over the years, and hopefully will continue to be around for many, many years yet.
  • The Cuban House of Cigars:  http://www.cubanhouseofcigars.com/ – this online blog / review site is the work of another good friend, Simon, as well as with Antonio (the manager for LCDH Montreal).  Simon’s put together a great blog and cigar review webpage here, in cohorts with LCDH Montreal as a business venture as well.  Though he’s just a young buck (don’t touch his hair!), he’s definitely got a way with words, and they’ve put up some great cigar reviews and some insightful looks into the events  and special goings-on of a wonderful LCDH that we all love to go to (great staff, and an awesome lounge – something that’s a rare occurrence in today’s non-smoking bylaw environment in Canada).  Simon’s a great guy, an old-soul in that kiddo (loves good jazz and other music too!), and his blog is one that’s definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Also, I’d like to mention few other resources here, mostly that I’ve become knowledgeable of (and also usually become personal friends with) through the cigar community at-large as well.  From coffee to book-learning, these are some great folks as well.  Now, I’m specifically not going to mention cigar retailers here.  There are lots of lists around the internet for that, so I don’t need to rehash about how or where to buy cigars online – there’s some great various primers out there, mostly on the various cigar forums on the internet.  But these are some great resources to also save the bookmarks for…

  • Friends of Habanos forum [FOH]:  http://www.friendsofhabanos.com/forum/ – the FOH forum is a damn fine one.  It’s the only cigar forum that I waste my precious time on!  Run out of Australia through an online cigar vendor, the FOH forum itself has an amazing cigar community attached to it.  A great place for respectful discussions of nearly all kinds, it’s run without the vitriol or “flame wars” that some online forums can unfortunately suffer from.  Be sure to check out FOH’s YouTube channel here for some great video cigar reviews – even if they are hilariously disfunctional sometimes!  And as long as Rob keeps my PSP list regularly stocked, I’ll be a happy camper, whether Ken (lovingly?!) regularly refers to us as “seal bashers” or not!
  • Canadian Cigar Forum [CCF]:  http://canadacigarforum.com – while only around for a few years, the CCF forum is a great one too.  Obviously Canadian-centric, it’s another great group of guys and gals.  While I’m not personally a member of this forum, I’ve met a number of the members from it at local events (as Canadians from FOH and CCF frequently get together locally), and it’s a stellar group as well.
  • Cuban Cigar Website:  http://www.cubancigarwebsite.com/ – one of the best resources on the internet for information, measurements, pictures, years-of-availability, and packaging explanations for Cuban cigars, bar none.  The information presented here usually far surpasses even that which Habanos S.A. releases through its own “official” channels.  Started back in 2006 or so by Trevor Leask, it’s mostly being run lately by Alexander Groom (some awesome blokes from Australia).  A number of items that could previously only be found in the Min Ron Nee book “An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Post-Revolution Havana Cigars” can also be found here, through a co-operative arrangement (very useful if you don’t happen to have a copy of that tome).  CCW for years has been the most kept-up-to-date and authoritative resources around on Cuban cigars – just phenomenal.  Please, as a member of this community, please also remember to donate to help with the costs of running this non-commercial / non-profit and invaluable resource, and to keep it around for years yet.
  • Yul Cigars:  http://yulcigars.blogspot.ca/ – one of the best Cuban price-list resources around, for those travelling to the island.  Run out of Montreal by another great BOTL, this list is fairly regularly updated / accuracy-checked and is pretty much the most comprehensive of MSRP-style prices at the state-run stores in Cuba (be it LCDH stores, Caracol outlets, factory shops, etc.)
  • Habanos S.A.:  http://www.habanos.com – well, they make the cigars we all love (well, they’re the distribution conglomerate anyways), so their webpage sometimes does come in handy for information and size format particulars.  More of a marketing tool than information resource, the English needs interpretation to comprehend, but they still are a resource that’s out there.  Their warranty-seal barcode checker is accurate about as much as a rookie weatherman, but it is a neat party favour.
  • Rocketfuel Coffee:  http://www.rocketfuelcoffee.com/ – my wife and I love Lisa’s custom joe blends.  A great sister-of-the-leaf as well.  You really get some amazing coffees for a great price with some inexpensive shipping.  If it’s not Cuban coffees (Cafe Serrano or Cubita) in my cup, generally it’s one of Rocketfuel Coffee’s blends – the Jamaican Blue Mountain, the pure Hawaiian Kona, and the Konakazee blend (Kona and expresso beans) are all awesome.  While I’m not mentioning cigar-related vendors here specifically, I’m mentioning this due to a cup of Lisa’s coffee being a perfect pairing (if you’re not having rum other other booze) to compliment a great cigar.

So, there’s a few of my most used and respected online resources and such.  Obviously, by no means is this anywhere near all encompassing or comprehensive.  And, if I neglected to mention a particular blog or webpage, in no way is this meant as a slight or negative – it’s just that the above have the “flavour” that best matches my wants and needs, and are some of both my most used, as well as the generally most respected within the cigar community.

Hopefully, some of the above can come of some use to you, if you weren’t aware of them before.

Cheers all.

[September 12th, 2014]